Congratulations on your delivery, your little one is finally here! Gone is the aching back, the morning sickness and the baby bump. But new symptoms like fatigue, aching joints, lack of endurance and sleep deprivation arise. Furthermore, you must keep up with your little bundle of joy! Luckily, there is a way to ensure that the transition from being an expecting mom to a new mom can be a lot smoother. You guessed it: It's yoga.
The benefits of post-natal yoga (to name a few):
- Restores the core strength of your body
- Tones the muscles back into being taught
- Promotes hormonal balance
- Helps reduce anxiety and depressive feelings
- Helps nurture, relax and renew your body
- Aids in detoxification and movement of fluids
- Helps create confidence in handling your baby
These following poses use movement, balance and relaxation to make you feel strong, vital and healthy again. Please ask your doctor before practising any of these poses. And as always, ease very slowly into each asana.
Balasana (child’s pose)
This pose is more for relaxation and practicing deep breathing and helps circulation of blood.
- Kneel on the floor, sit on your heels while touching your big toes together and widen your knees as far as comfortable.
- Lay your torso between your thighs and push your belly as close to the ground as possible and put your forehead to the floor.
- Lengthen your tailbone, stretch out so that the base of your skull is away from your neck.
- Maintain this pose for about 30 seconds to 1 minute, and practice deep breathing throughout.
- While in child’s pose, practice some Kegel’s exercises. Due to the strain and pressure of delivery, the pelvic floor can get loosened and weak. Many women experience urine leak while coughing or laughing, or lessened sexual sensation after delivery. These exercises help strengthen and repair the pelvic floor.
- Locate your pelvic floor muscles (the ones that you use to stop urination midstream) and tighten them for about 5 seconds. Then release. Practice this daily at least 3-5 times to notice a difference!
Bhujangasan (cobra pose)
This asana helps with strengthening your back muscles and spinal cord, relieving back pain associated with delivery. It also helps in toning the abdomen and butt muscles.
- Lay flat on your stomach on a mat and relax your body
- Place your palms beneath your shoulders, deeply inhale and lift your upper body, keeping your hips and pelvis on the ground.
- Make sure your shoulders are far away from your neck, face forwards and gently try to look up.
- Keep your feet together, tighten your buttocks and form an arc with your back. Do not push beyond your limits, and stop the stretching if you reach a point of pain or discomfort. This should feel like a good stretch for your back!
- Maintain this pose for 10 seconds and go back to lying on the floor. Continue 2-3 times.
Knees-bent navasana (boat pose)
Many women can have abdominal separation during pregnancy and after childbirth due to the pressure of bearing a child. This pose should be practiced very gently and can help repair the abdominal muscles and tighten them up again. Make sure to ask your doctor whether it’s safe to practice this pose.
- Sit upright with your knees bent close to your buttocks
- Very slowly, get your feet off the ground while going back to a 45° angle and keeping your back straight.
- Find a safe, easy point where you can maintain your balance, and do not hold your breath. First, you must always be comfortable enough to breathe deeply, the balance will soon follow.
- Use your hands to hold your knees while maintaining this pose for about 30 seconds. Breathe deeply throughout.
Uttana shishosana (extended puppy pose)
This asana allows for a thorough stretch in the vertebrae, which helps in realigning the spine. It also targets the thighs, hips and arms and tones the muscles there.
With your hands and knees on the floor (wrists under shoulders and knees under hips), raise your hips upwards. Exhale.
- • Try to keep your legs straight, extend your arms all the way out, palms facing down and keep your forehead on the floor. Inhale.
- Keep your feet fixed to the ground. Maintain this pose for 10 seconds and come back down slowly, while breathing deeply. Repeat 3-5 times.
Viparita karani (legs up the wall pose)
This asana helps unwinding the body and let’s go of some of the tension you might have been holding up. It is also great for fighting fatigue which is another common symptom that follows delivery. You will need to use a wall for this pose. Place a support (thick blankets)
5-6 inches away from the wall. Sit sideways with your right side against the wall.
- Bring your legs up to the wall and lie down with your buttocks against the wall (or as close to the wall as possible) while having your support under your torso/pelvis: all in one movement. Make sure to do this very slowly!
- Your torso must be gently arched (with the support) and the base of your skull should be released from the neck. Get your hands out to each side with palms facing up.